The Bible is a consistent Book from a changeless God; and every part of God's Word agrees with every other part.
Looking out at each of you who came to Calvary, eager to hear God's Word and respond to Him and get blessed this morning, just thrills my heart. All week long I study the Word and minister the word to individuals, but this is the thrill of my week standing to share God's Word with you, Christ's body at Calvary.
God Makes Understanding World Events Simple
As we open to Daniel 2, note with me how simple God makes understanding the future. God sends us a picture that describes the history of the world of Daniel (620-530 BC) to the end of human history on Earth as we know it.
God reduced human history down to the four Empires that surround the history of His Chosen people of promise, the Jews. Four easy steps to comprehend history, from the time of the life of Daniel in the Old Testament to now, and onward to the end. That is simple.
As I worked through the Scriptures this week I thought of the amazing blessing when complex things fit easily together. I remember many years ago when we had a house full of little children and could hardly afford to have the AC running during hot, muggy summers. We went to SAMS and found one of those huge above ground pools. You’ve seen the boxes, I’m sure. The ones with the happy family splashing in a gorgeous, crystal clear pool of refreshingly cold water…
It should have troubled me as how such a beautiful huge pool could fit in such a small box. But we bought it, promised it, and everyone was gathered around as I opened that box and dumped out the almost 1,200individual tiny pieces that all had to be perfectly fitted together before we stretched the incredibly thin plastic liner over it.
Two weeks, and about 1,199 parts later we found out just how hard it was to fit together those pieces, especially since half the instructions ended up being in French, Chinese, German and Urdu, but not English, and it seemed that one part was missing.
Thankfully the Bible is not like that. The complexities of all of history are easily and vividly assembled for us, by God Himself, right here in Daniel 2.
The Rule of Four Empires & the Coming of Christ
When Jesus first explained the End of Days to His disciples He used as His central point the coming of the worst human who ever will live. The antichrist is the greatest fiend, the most powerful, destructive, evil, wicked and harmful human who will ever live. Jesus mentions him in Matthew 24:15 (as we will see later), then cites Daniel the prophet.
Basically Jesus had two central truths in His longest explanation of the future for us. First:
The Antichrist Will Be the Worst Human Ever
Think about this man with so many different names in the Bible: the man of sin, the son of perdition, the beast, the lawless one, and the Antichrist.
Of all who have ever hated good, hated God and hated Christians, the Antichrist will be the pinnacle. If we were to take all of the worst persecutors, deceivers and malignant terrorists and stew them until they boiled down to the essence of evil, the Antichrist is what would pour out: the man of sin, the son of perdition, and the false Christ.
When this man appears, he will pulsate with the power of demons and flow with the evil desires of Satan, so much so that even people’s money, buying, selling and even lives will be only at his nod.
Jesus described the most amazing event in the future when He was describing the end times by a citation from the prophet Daniel. Which brings us to Christ's second point:
Jesus Affirms the Reliability of Daniel
As we open to Daniel this morning, we open to one of the more vivid books of Old Testament Bible prophecy. Listen to Daniel 2:31-35 (NKJV):
“You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. 32 This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 34 You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
When we read those inspired words God has sent to us, did you appreciate the magnitude of what we heard? This is the main source Jesus uses to explain eschatology, end times and Biblical prophecy.
Christ's Authentication of Daniel
Here are three very powerful ways in which Jesus affirms, authenticates and declares Daniel reliable. Those reasons are why this book is so amazing:
- A Strong Endorsement: Daniel is the only Old Testament prophet Jesus calls by name, when He explains the future in His long and detailed Olivet Discourse, or message in Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, and Luke 21. That, in itself, is amazing.
- A Real Person: Jesus authenticates that Daniel is just who the Bible explains him to be. A Jew alive in the sixth century BC Empire of Babylon who serves at the highest levels of the closing days of Babylon and the opening days of the Medo-Persian Empire.
- A Simple Map: God gives a map of the future that is flawlessly accurate and a guide for us to understand history past, present and future. When God Almighty who rules from Heaven over all the affairs of mankind, gave to Daniel the snapshot of all the ages left for mankind, God says this is all there will be to the end.
If you really ponder what Daniel is inspired to say, all of a sudden we don’t have to wonder what everything means in the Bible. We see that the Bible means literally what it says. The Bible is God describing real people from the past and ties those people from history with events forming all around us. First notice that:
God Sees ONLY 4 World Empires
First in Daniel 2 God gives an overview of Human History from a human perspective, with all of the outward beauty and accomplishments:
- Gold = Babylonian Empire (627-539 BC);
- Silver = Medo-Persian Empire (539-330 BC);
- Bronze = Greek Empire (330-63 BC);
- Iron = Roman Empire (63 BC – 476 AD – 1453 AD – present).
Many pieces of the former Roman Empire have had their days: Byzantine, Holy Roman Empire, Spanish, English, etc. But God says the Empire that never was defeated just faded away, and revives.
Second, in Daniel 7:3-7 God shows the same four Empires and their character, but from His perspective; and when God describes them, each are seen as beasts that bite, devour and crush.
Finally, in Daniel 9:24-27 we have what may be the single most amazing Biblical End Times prophecy. In this prophecy we see clearly God giving us connection of the Roman Empire past and to the Roman Empire future.
God’s Amazingly Clear Prophecy
Read with me about that event back in the Old Testament prophet Daniel.
Dan 9:24-27 (NKJV) “Seventy weeks are determined
For your people and for your holy city,
= Jews & Jerusalem
To finish the transgression,
To make an end of sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
= Christ's First Coming
To bring in everlasting righteousness,
To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy.
= Christ's Second Coming
“Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem
Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks andsixty-two weeks;
= 49 years + 434 years
The street shall be built again, and the wall,
Even in troublesome times.
49 years = 445 BC (Nehemiah 2:1-8) to 395 BC
“And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
434 years = 395 BC to 30 AD
And the people of the prince who is to come
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
The end of it shall be with a flood,
And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,
Even until the consummation, which is determined,
Is poured out on the desolate.”
The Man Daniel Jesus Paul & John All Described
First, Jesus Himself affirmed all of Daniel's prophecy by quoting it, Matthew 24:15 (NKJV):
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place”(whoever reads, let him understand),
Next, we saw that Paul says in his earliest Epistles (2 Thessalonians 2): "Remember that when I was with you I was telling you these things," he certainly had the prophecy of Daniel as the text for that kind of instruction.
Finally, when John says, "You have already heard about Antichrist," indeed they had.
So by the time 1 John was written, the Thessalonian epistles had already been written and widely circulated. The early Christians had well read 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 and there they had much information about Antichrist as well as the teaching of the book of Daniel.
The coming Global Ruler will make a peace treaty, or a covenant of safety with Israel for seven years. So great is this covenant that Israel gets to live in peace with the Muslims plus build a Temple in Jerusalem without starting World War 3, at least for 3 ½ years.
Perhaps the most vexing problem facing global politicians is the simmering hatred of the Moslem World against Israel, Jews and anyone who supports them. Which reflects the central truth of Scripture that:
The Great Conflict of the Ages is: Satan vs. Israel
Today there is an amazing face off we can see, if we pay attention. On one side are 1.2 billion people, the population of over 100 countries, all united as followers of the teachings of the prophet Mohammad. This group possesses one of the most dreaded military weapons, the human-bomb, suicide terrorists who willingly maneuver themselves as self-guided agents of destruction and they do so motivated by their religion.
With trillions of dollars of assets, unlimited volunteers willing to die for the cause, and a hatred that is trained to focus upon Jews, they become what may easily be called the largest army in the world. They live in lands that easily add up to over 4.3 million square miles. This means the Muslim world has 500 plus times as much land as Israel.
On the other side of the face-off are just 7 million descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They are chosen people of promise, picked by God out of all the peoples of the Earth to be His very own. They live in less than 8,000 square miles, a space the size of New Jersey, and are virtually surrounded on every side by mortal enemies. Israel has one-fifth of 1% of the land of the Muslim world.
The Ultimate Peacemaker: The Beast
One man, the Beast of Revelation 13 makes a peace treaty that keeps Israel & the Arab/Muslim world at peace for 3 ½ years. Look back at v. 27. But to close, look at what this amazing politician, peace-maker does in Revelation 13:16-17 (NKJV):
He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
So it gets so bad either you take the mark, get signed by the Beast as under his ownership, or you die. Life and death are in his hands. Fear will be so great, most of the world will bow and let him sign them as belonging to him. Souls signed by the devil are irrecoverable as it says in Revelation 13. So what is the use? He is so bad, so powerful, so unstoppable. What can stand against him?
Just one thing, and it is just as powerful today as it will be then: the signature of God.
The ONLY Protection from Satan is the Signature of God
When you call upon Christ in repentant faith, God saves you. Salvation is the greatest work of God in the universe. I like to call the work of salvation the signature of God. When God writes Himself--across our lives.
Listen to this summary of what happens to each of us who come by faith to God through Christ.
- REGENERATION: When God Changes my Heart. Ezekiel 36:26-27 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Only God can do this!
- CONVERSION: When God Changes my Life. Matthew 18:3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.Only God can do this!
- REPENTANCE: When God Changes my Mind. Matthew 3:8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance,Only God can do this!
- ADOPTION: When God Changes my Family. Romans 8:14-17 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. Only God can do this!
- SANCTIFICATION: When God Changes my Behavior. Hebrews 10:14-16 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” Only God can do this!
- JUSTIFICATION: When God Changes my State. Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Only God can do this!
- GLORIFICATION: When God Changes my Place. John 17:24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. Only God can do this!
Note these truths in your Bible, believe them in your heart, live them out each day, then share them as you act on the reality of God’s Signature across your life!
Are you an autographed copy of Christ?
Has the Spirit of God signed, sealed, and delivered you from sin, and death and hell?
If not, you can be today. Cry out to God and say: God be merciful to me the sinner.
That is why we study the antichrist; to see that greater is He that is with us than the Evil One who is coming to deceive the whole world.